So we finally picked our area. It was selected on Wednesday 12th January after much debate and collective input.
We had the pleasure of having two Members from the Steering Committee from Dublin City Council to help us in deciding our area they were Dick Gleeson (City Architect) and Micheal Stubbs (Assistant City Manager).
The Team where sent out to get a feel for the area. I took a break from developing the radio show for an hour and walked around the area to get a taste of it.
The area we are looking at takes in the Streets and the Market off Capel Street.
Some of the streets I Walked: The Market Area , Arran Street, Little Green Street,Little Mary Street,St.Michans Street, Ormond Square,Ormond Place,Chancery Street, St.Michans Street,Church Street Flats and across the road to Smithfield
On walking around the area I found it to be dark,cold,very quiet and sad. I felt it lacked energy and life. I felt let down that I was not getting the initial WOW factor that I expected to get. Upon reflection and listening to the rest of the team members talk about their experience and seeing their excitement flow. I can see that there is potential to work and make changes to the Area.
My own story:
What I noticed walking around was: empty sites,derelict buildings, school’s, laneways ,playgrounds,market space, lack of signage, businesses, social and private housing, hoarding, un-used wall space.
I think that:
- We need to engage with the people who are currently living in the area and those who work in the area.By doing this we will get a better sense of their needs and help promote dialogue around these issues.
- We need to have a clear sense of Who this is for.
- What we hope to achieve both long term and short term.
- We need to develop relationship’s from the ground up and build on this.
- There are active groups present in the area we need to make contact with them as these are key to the work.
- We have a real chance to engage with the workers in the Market,to create a welcome and warm feeling in the market space and the surrounding area/streets.
- How can we tap into the secrets of this Area without changing the mysterious feel that it has.
- How can we trigger curiosity in people.
- Achieving a balance of cosmetic change and people change.
- What is achievable in our time frame.
- Ask people living and working in the area what their feeling is of the Area are.
- Put pictures of the people in the area up in derelict building.
- Make usage of the walls, hoardings in the area to give it some life and warmth.
- Use the playgrounds as a stage to host a play day, this can help promote interaction with residents.
- Use the area at the back of the markets that looks out on the luas track as a way to draw people in from the street, maybe have more stalls in this space.
- A heritage project community life of the past and present.
- Use the market as a gateway into the area, get peoples curiousity going by using different activities,methods to get them exploring.
Ronnie Tino was over with us from Denmark for a couple of days, he has insight and expertise into how Technology can be used in Urban Desgin.
Ronnie explained that to him the area is like a teenager. It has a lot of personalites, different energy and ideas. How do we get the most out of this teenager and show the City that this teenager is amazing. We must also take into account the mood swings of the teenager. I think this is a great example to use.
I also take on the advice Ronnie gave us about improving the offering and choosing our projects wisely. Something needs to happen that will attract others. Bring different elements of the Area together ,roll with the beauty and the un-tidyness of the area.
There is alot to think about and a lot to be done. It is a challange and a learning but hey that is what “Love the City” is all about.